Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration
Nick Whalen, Chair
“Newcomers from diverse backgrounds arrive in Canada every day. Settlement services offer immigrants a bridge into Canadian society, assisting them to start their lives in Canada with the proper information and supports needed to help them succeed and quickly feel at home.
Between January and May 2019, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration studied the current state of settlement services to determine how they could be improved. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) engages employers, sponsors and settlement services agencies to provide settlement services on its behalf. The Settlement Program is the largest in IRCC and there are over 500 organizations that are funded to provide settlement services. The diverse needs of newcomers are reflected in the types of services that are offered, such as language training, employment related services, and mental health supports.
This report is divided into nine sections. Section one provides an overview of settlement services and its funding.
Section two summarizes the most common services available to eligible newcomers. Pre-arrival services provide information abroad that help newcomers adjust their expectations and connect with employer networks. There are also different types of language training necessary to enter the job market or to obtain Canadian citizenship. Employment services are varied, such as mentorship or networking.
Section three describes specialized services that target specific vulnerable populations such as women and youth. To better serve vulnerable populations, organizations have come up with different ideas that are shared in this report.
Section four discusses how eligibility criteria may restrict access to settlement services.
Section five examines settlement services in rural areas. Immigration to Canada has generally benefited urban areas, but today’s rural communities are seeking to attract and retain newcomers. They often face the challenge of having little support and flexible solutions are required.
Section six examines settlement services for francophone minority communities outside Quebec, and the challenges in providing a continuum of services in French to newcomers who are entitled to service in their official language.
Section seven identifies how welcoming communities and anti-racism efforts affect the relative success of newcomer integration.
Section eight explores funding models for service provider organizations, and the desire for stable and predictable multiyear funding.
Finally, section nine provides a brief overview of a formal evaluation conducted by IRCC of its settlement services in May 2017, and how agreements between IRCC and service providers include a component outlining desired outcomes.
Settlement services have and will continue to be developed locally to meet national objectives. Increasingly, there is a recognition that while best practices can be shared for evaluation purposes, programs will always need to be adapted to reflect the availability of community resources, provincial and territorial supports, and the ability of each local organization. Without stable and predictable funding, it is not possible for settlement services providers to fully develop programming and retain staff. Therefore, there is a role for the federal government in working with stakeholders to establish national standards and priorities, establish multiyear funding envelopes, and facilitate the customization of settlement programming that takes local realities into account.
This report highlights actions the federal government can take to improve settlement services in the different communities across the country, including in rural areas, as well as some initiatives on the international scene. The Committee recommends that Canadian best practices in settlement services be shared with other countries in the context of the Global Compact for Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees. The Committee also identifies a need for better coordination of interpretation services, in collaboration with all levels of government across Canada. Further, mobile settlement services and access to digital tools should be expanded in rural and remote areas to assist communities in their efforts to attract and retain newcomers.”
View or download the full report:
Other recent CIMM reports
Adapting Canada’s immigration policies to today’s realities (Report 25 – June 17, 2019)
· Government response (April 5, 2019)
Research at a Glance is designed to inform the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) community and other interested parties about recently published, policy-relevant research from government, academic and NGO sources. The views expressed in the documents described do not necessarily reflect those of IRCC.